Sightseeing at Shimogamo Jinja Shrine! A restaurant where you can taste Kyoto's seasonal food
I would like to introduce you to a restaurant you can't resist going into, when you are sightseeing in the Shimogamo Jinja Shrine area. Yuba and Yudofu probably come to mind when you think about food you can enjoy in Kyoto. In this restaurant, you can enjoy “obanzai” to your heart's content. Can't wait? Let's go and see what they have, then.
Enjoying Kyoto's food along with touring Shimogamo Jinja Shrine
I'm sure you'd want to enjoy the area's food when visiting Japan. This restaurant near Shimogamo Jinja Shrine is right near the station.
First, I will leave exit No. 3 of Demachiyanagi Station. As I look at Kamogawa River, I will cross the bridge and turn left at the Teramachi Dori and Imadegawa intersection. I see the sign that reads “Teramachi Yoshikura” right away!
I found the lunch menu in front of the restaurant. Teishoku (set menu) and donburi (bowl of rice with various food on top) seem to be their main dishes. I can't decide what I want to have, so I have decided to go inside and then order.
The inside of the restaurant has soft lights and although well-lighted, it has a relaxing ambience. There are 10 counter seats, and further inside, some seats are in a tatami room. There are some large dishes on the counter. They must be the rumored “obanzai.”
Now that I am in my seat, I have to decide what to order. The easiest would be the set menu of the day, but their main dish was fish… I like meat better, so I will have butaten (pork tempura) teishoku. The Shrimp Tempura teishoku seemed nice too, but today, I will have meat.
If you order this lunch that I ordered, you are free to eat any of the “obanzai,” is what the menu says. “Obanzai” are Kyoto's household dish made with traditional wisdom. I heard that the recipes were made to make full use of seasonal ingredients without taking time nor effort.
The view of “obanzai” from above. There are seven of them lined up, and it is a self-service system. Just looking at them makes me hungry, so I'm going to start eating.
This day's “obanzai” is atsuage (deep-fried tofu), ganmodoki (fried bean curd cake with vegetables and other ingredients inside), fuki (butterbur) cooked in soy sauce, hijiki (edible seaweed) cooked in soy sauce, country potato cooked in soy sauce, kiriboshi daikon (dried daikon strips), and chilled tofu. A lot of them are everyday food, but I ate fuki for the first time. It was a bit bitter, but the soup stock seasoning made it delicious. Overall, the saltiness was modest rather than strong, but because of the rich soup stock, I am quite satisfied with the taste.
Kyoto's food is said to be modestly seasoned. But because of the soup stock, they don't need much saltiness. If I still needed some flavor, I add a lot of ginger, dried bonito flakes, or shichimi (a mixture of red pepper and other spices) to my food. They taste better than directly adding soy sauce. Usually, you eat chilled tofu with soy sauce, but this restaurant dips them in soup stock, so you don't need soy sauce.
As taste the obanzai, I hear the crackling sound of tempura being cooked. The smell of oil is nice. I am getting very hungry.
How is the taste of Japanese food when sightseeing Shimogamo Jinja Shrine?
After having two rounds of obanzai, they are serving me the butaten teishoku. Looks very good. The tenpura has a nice color. I wonder if I would be satisfied with this amount of food.
They used the aka miso (dark‐brown miso) for the miso soup. It was simple, with some fu (wheat gluten cake) in it. The taste is rich, but not too salty. When I drank the soup after eating the obanzai, I felt even more relaxed.
Next, I will try the vegetable tempura. The yellow color makes it look delicious. The pumpkin is sweet, and the batter coating is crunchy. Unlike the ordinary type, the soup for the tempura is made of soy sauce and ponzu vinegar. Its taste is very different from the soup stock used for the obanzai, which is refreshing. I can't stop eating when I have the tempura with rice.
Now for the butaten.
The taste is completely different from chicken karaage. Looking at it closely, I find it is made of thinly cut pork in many layers. It has a light taste, juicy, and very good. Next to the ponzu is coarse salt. Seasoning the pork with this salt made the flavor deeper.
I finished eating the teishoku very fast, so I will go back to the obanzai. The main tempura was not enough for me, but I feel full after eating the obanzai.
“Teramachi Yoshikura” is open at night as well. They serve teishoku that is different from the lunch menu. Also, they serve three types of Kyoto kaiseki (banquet dishes) course dinner, Yonezawa brand pork shabushabu, and nabe (hot pot) with ingredients such as duck, soft shell turtle, and pufferfish (some need reservation). Along with Kyoto's local sake, you will find various sake from different areas of Japan, hand-picked by the owner-chef. Great place to be if you must taste sake when in Japan!
During the days when there were no refrigerators, people of Kyoto created a culture of only making dishes using meat and fish just enough for the day, and if they weren't full, they would eat obanzai. Today, I experienced precisely this Kyoto tradition. It was kind of surreal.
My body feels a bit lighter than usual, and I feel like walking a little more. I may go to the nearby Kyoto Imperial Palace, or the Nijo-jo Castle, which a little farther. If you have the opportunity to visit Shimogamo Jinja Shrine or the Kyoto Imperial Palace, how about trying some fresh fish, meat, and seasonal Kyoto vegetables hand-picked and served by “Teramachi Yoshikura”?
102, Shinnyodomaecho, Imadegawa Kudaru, Teramachi-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Dinner: 17:00-21:00 (last order)
Closed on Tuesdays
5-minute walk from “Demachiyanagi Station” on Keihan Railway and Eizan Railway)
Credit cards are accepted
*The above information was last updated May 18, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
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